Tex Mex Potato Chowder

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To celebrate the start of “-ber month season,” I bring you this wonderfully hearty potato chowder recipe. This has became a fall time favorite as it is easy to throw together on busy school nights, and it is packed with flavor that lasts a couple of meals. This recipe is great as is, but I think that there are so many things you can add to customize the taste. The next time I make this I may add some jalapenos or maybe a serrano to heat things up.  I bet a topping of queso fresco and/or seasoned tortilla strips would set this chowder off as well. I’ve also considered adding extra broth and thickening it up with some Masa flour to enhance the dish with a “tortilla-esque” flavor. The possibilities are endless. I was inspired to give this dish a try by Aunt Bee’s Recipes which is a great recipe blog that I recommend checking out. Aunt Bee’s recipe (found through the above link) offers a slow cooker version of this recipe. If you are interested in making this in a slow cooker her recipe is the way to go. Keep in mind that her ingredients and directions will be slightly different from mine.

TIME: approx. 45 minutes

SERVES: 8-10

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 5 gloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning (I used reduced sodium)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 (10oz) can of rotel tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (15.25oz) can of corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15.25oz) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (28oz) bag of potatoes O’Brien, frozen not thawed
  • 2 (32 oz) cartons of chicken broth
  • 3 cups of milk
  • 8 oz bar of cream cheese, softened/room temperature
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, reserve a few sprigs to top when you dish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot heat oil over medium flame. Add the chopped onion, salt and pepper. Saute for about 3 minutes. Add the ground beef and minced garlic. Cook until beef is no longer pink. Drain any excess grease.
  2. Stir in taco seasoning, cumin, and chili powder until the beef mixture is well coated. Next, add rotel tomatoes, black beans, corn, potatoes, chicken broth and milk.
  3. Bring to a boil then reduce heat.
  4. Simmer while covered for 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in softened cream cheese and fresh cilantro.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Dish topping with the reserved cilantro and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

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Sriracha Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry

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My husband and I will soon be entering a transition period in which our “home roles” reverse. I will be launching a career and he will be staying home with our kids more frequently to accommodate my work schedule. This means that I will be letting him take the reigns in the kitchen a little more often. This is a beautiful thing and is one of the reasons why I started this blog. I wanted a place where all of our favorite recipes could live and be accessed from anywhere by anyone. I will admit that I am a little concerned about this transition as my dearest husband has trouble making mac-n-cheese from a box with clearly listed instructions… That said, I took on the hunt for this recipe as a challenge to find a dish similar to the meals my husband makes when he has to cook. There are a few things he can whip up for dinner really well and his go-to dish is ground beef tacos. This recipe is as easy as ground beef tacos, takes about the same amount of time, and the flavor is phenomenal. I am confident that my husband can pull this recipe off. This recipe was adapted from a fabulous recipe blog called Budget Bytes. I highly recommend Budget Bytes to everyone as the dishes look delicious and the author, Beth, breaks everything down financially for people like me who like to eat under budget.

Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp sriracha sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1bsp canola oil (or whatever unflavored oil you like to use to brown/cook your meat)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 small head of green cabbage, sliced into strips
  • 1 lb bag of carrots, peeled and sliced with a potato peeler
  • 1 bunch of green onions, rinsed and sliced
  • 5 oz can of water chestnuts, drained and diced
  • extra sriracha to top the dish (optional)
  • Rice noodles to top the dish (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha and brown sugar. Mix until combined and set aside.
  2. Heat canola oil over a medium flame and add the ground beef. Once the beef is mostly cooked add the garlic and ginger and continue to cook until fragrant.
  3. Add in the reserved sauce you made in the first step along with the sliced cabbage and carrots. Toss this mixture together and cook until the cabbage is tender crisp.
  4. Add the green onions and water chestnuts. Cook until the water chestnuts are just heated through. You don’t want to cook it too long or the green onions and water chestnuts will begin to loose their crunch.
  5. Plate the stir fry and add your optional toppings. We used crunchy rice noodles and a drizzling of extra sriracha.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

 

Spinach Tomato and Sausage Skillet over Angel Hair Pasta

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I am not a big fan of super saucy dishes unless it is curry. I feel that when things are over sauced it takes away from the real stars of the dish. The big players in this one are spicy sausage and chunky style sun dried tomatoes. The combination of these two offers a degree of savory-sweet (with a kick). It is my favorite flavor combo making this recipe a new favorite in my Rolodex. If you are into bold flavor and a meal that will feed your family for a few days than give this dish a try! This recipe was adapted from a beautiful recipe blog called Julia’s Album.

Time: 35 minutes

Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Italian Sausage (I went with spicy but refine to your own taste)
  • 8.5 oz jar of sun dried tomatoes julienne cut in oil (reserve the oil you will use it to cook)
  • a pinch (or more) of red pepper flakes. I tend to like things spicy and opted for upwards to three pinches. Tailor it to your taste
  • 6 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • One bunch of fresh basil, chopped (I am aware that “one bunch” is incredibly vague so to clarify just buy a packaged bunch of fresh basil from your market’s produce section)
  • 8 oz fresh spinach
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb angel hair pasta (or whatever pasta you prefer)

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet heat the entire contents the sun dried tomato jar over low heat. Once heated up the temperature to medium and add the sausage and red pepper flakes. Cook until the sausage is no longer pink.
  2. Add Roma tomatoes, basil, spinach, garlic, and salt/pepper to taste. Toss this mixture gently to be sure that all veggies get coated with the tomato oil goodness. Continue to cook until the spinach begins to wilt. Then remove the skillet from heat and cover it.
  3. Cook your pasta per the packaging, drain and add it to your sausage and vegetable skillet. Mix it all together and plate.
  4. One extra and totally optional tip is to reserve some of the spinach (or buy extra) and add crisp spinach to the dish as you plate it. This adds color, nutrients and a wonderful crunch to the dish. I highly recommend.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

 

Stromboli

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Pizza, in all its shapes and forms is always a welcome dish at our table. This blog has inspired me to experiment with pizza recipes. I’ve done freshly made dough, tested various toppings and have even tried grilling it. I’ve gotten so crafty that I realize I have skipped some very foundational pizza recipes. Here we have a Stromboli. It is easy and quick to make, and just as importantly, it is delicious. I chose to stuff this one with pepperoni and salami as the original recipe suggested, but obviously you can stuff it with whatever you like. I think next time I will attempt a spinach and artichoke variation with white sauce. This works well as a weeknight recipe if you use store-bought dough like I did. I was pretty impressed that it took at most 30 minutes to make this beautiful Stromboli. I will strongly suggest that if you are cooking for more than three people it would be wise to double the recipe. If you have little ones this is a fun recipe to get them involved in the kitchen. They can put the toppings on and even help you roll the Stromboli if you are brave. As always, I want to give credit to the original source of this recipe. I found this recipe at http://www.therecipecritic.com . I did make some variations to the original recipe, but I do recommend looking at the original to see if it fits your tastes better than my adaptation.

 

Makes: 1 Stromboli; approx. 6 servings

Calories: 387 per serving (keep in mind this is with the exact ingredients I used, and will change if you use different ingredients.)

Time: 30 total minutes -10 minutes prep; 20 minutes cooking

Ingredients:

  • 1 refrigerated thin crust pizza dough
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 (14 oz) jar pizza sauce, about 1/2 cup for the Stromboli and the rest for dipping
  • 1 (3oz) package of dry Italian sausage
  • 1 (3oz) package of sliced pepperoni
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Parmesan cheese to taste, I only used a light sprinkling
  • 1 egg beaten
  • Garlic powder to taste, I only used a light sprinkling
  • Italian seasoning to taste, I only used a light sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Sprinkle your working surface with flour and stretch out your pizza dough.
  3. Spread pizza sauce over the dough being careful not to get too close to the edges. When you roll the Stromboli it will be messy if you have sauce oozing out of the edges. You will not use the entire jar
  4. Sprinkle 1.5 cups of mozzarella over the sauce followed by a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese to your personal taste. Once cheese is laid start placing the pepperoni and salami.
  5. Roll the Stromboli length wise being careful not to tear the dough. Pinch the ends and place on a baking stone or cookie sheet seam side down.
  6. Brush the beaten egg over the top of the Stromboli, then slice a few little vents on the top. Distribute the remaining mozzarella cheese on top and finally sprinkle the garlic powder and Italian seasoning over the top (to taste).
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Let sit for a few minutes before slicing as it will be piping hot.
  9. Enjoy with the remaining pizza sauce for dipping!

*The photo is an original belonging to me

**Original recipe adapted from http://www.therecipecritic.com

 

Southwest Style Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

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We have been eating so much cheese, pasta and take out recently that we needed to kick off this week with a healthy veggie dinner. I’m sure I don’t need to preach the benefits of quinoa too much these days because it has bee exhausted at this point, but I will highlight a few of my favorite qualities of this grain: gluten free, high in protein, high in fiber and super high in antioxidants. Just heed my advice and get this stuff into your diet immediately! This recipe is a slam dunk in that it is delicious without the fats, salt and carbs. Please note that I am not calling this recipe vegetarian or vegan because I did cook the quinoa with beef broth. YOU CAN make this vegetarian by cooking the quinoa with water.

Makes: 8 peppers     Calories: 176/stuffed half pepper    Time: prep- 30 mins, cook- 45 mins

Ingredients:

  • 4 bell peppers (the more round the better), cut in half with ribs and seeds removed
  • 1 cup dry quinoa, cooked according to package. I cooked mine with beef broth but you can use vegetable broth or just water.
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 1.5 tsp cumin
  • 1.5 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • OPTIONAL: if you like a little heat 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 (15.25 oz) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15.25 oz) can of sweet whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2/3 cup of your favorite salsa, we used “hot traditional”
  • OPTIONAL: cheese for topping

Directions:

  1. Cook quinoa according to package. This takes about 30 minutes so be sure to allot the time for this step.
  2. In a large bowl mix together cooked quinoa, garlic, green onion, spices, beans, corn and salsa.
  3. Prepare the peppers by halving them and cleaning out the ribs/seeds
  4. Scoop the quinoa mixture into each pepper halve and place in greased 9×13 baking dish.
  5. If you want to top the pepper with cheese do so now and cover the baking dish with foil.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes and remove the foil to bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.thegardengrazer.com

Sloppy Joe Casserole

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If you look at my pinterest search history you will find that 90% of my recipe search terms are “casserole.” I love the convenience of throwing a bunch of tasty things into a baking dish and letting magic happen in the oven. This recipe is especially wonderful as it takes the flavor of a Sloppy Joe and maximizes it with a cornbread base. Talk about savory sweet, this dish is packed with flavor! I chop up a bunch of extra vegetables to add a bit of crunch (and nutrients too I guess) and it is a slam dunk. I adapted this recipe from http://www.bunsinmyoven.com

Serves:  10    Calories: 462.4 per serving     Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8.5 oz) box of cornbread mix
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/3 cup of milk, I used 2%
  • 1 egg
  • 1 (14 3/4 oz) can of cream corn
  • 2 (16 oz) cans of sloppy joe sauce
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 9×13 baking dish
  2. Mix together the cornbread mix, 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese, milk, egg, and cream corn.
  3. Pour this mixture into your baking dish and bake for about 15 minutes.
  4. While cornbread is baking melt the butter in a large pan.
  5. Sauté the onion and peppers for 3 minutes
  6. Add the ground beef and cook until it is no longer pink.
  7. Drain the fat from the pan. This is important because you don’t want this mixture to be too liquid-y.
  8. Add all but 1/2 cup of the sloppy joe sauce to the beef mixture and stir it all in.
  9. By now your cornbread should be done baking. Check for readiness with a toothpick (basically stab the cornbread with a toothpick once and if it comes out clean the bread is done).
  10. Puncture the cornbread with a fork to create little holes. Spread 1/2 cup of the sloppy joe sauce over the cornbread.
  11. Pour the beef mixture over the cornbread and spread evenly. Top with the rest of the cheddar cheese and return the baking dish to the oven for 15 minutes.
  12. Remove from the oven, let cool for a minute or two, top with green onions and serve.
  13. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.bunsinmyoven.com

BLT Chicken Salad

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Chicken salad, I’ve reached chicken salad status… To some this may seem like a stupid thing to consider a milestone, but entertain me for a second. I remember the days my mom was done with every single one of us kids because we were crazy. When it came time for dinner she had very little energy to put into making a big meal. One of her go to recipes was egg salad… Yes, it is as disgusting as it sounds. Hard-boiled eggs smothered with mayonnaise and some salt and pepper. I “yack” just thinking about it. It always made me wonder “how bad are we that she would actually feed this to us?” Nightmares still plague me about how she would sometimes send us off to school with an egg salad sandwich tucked into our lunchboxes. I made my own vow at a young age to never feed my future husband and child(ren) rotten-eggs-on-toast (egg salad). Chicken salad is a big deal for me because it is my go to “quick and easy” and it doesn’t suck. Sorry mom, kinda..

This recipe was inspired by a recipe I found on http://www.thegarlicdiaries.com. If you get the chance, please check out their beautiful website. They do the 21 day fix so if you are looking for recipes to fit your diet plan for the 21 day fix you will want to head over there right away. What drew me to the recipe is the BLT part of its title. Why have standard chicken salad when you can have BLT chicken salad?!  Not only is the recipe easy and delicious but we have a few days worth of left overs.

Serves: 8    Calories: 156.4     Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz pkg of bacon, I used center cut bacon
  • 2 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 (5.3 oz) containers of plain greek yogurt
  • I head of romaine lettuce, chopped (yields approx 5.5 cups of lettuce)
  • OPTIONAL: Salt, pepper, dill to taste
  • OPTIONAL: toast, crackers, avocacos

Directions:

  1. Cook chicken and bacon.
  2. Chop up lettuce and tomatoes. Put chopped veggies into a large bowl with greek yogurt.
  3. Shred chicken and crumble the bacon.
  4. Add the meats and optional seasonings to the bowl and mix well.
  5. Scoop onto toast, crackers or like http://www.thegarlicdiaries.com suggested avocados! We grilled our avocados. If you wish to do the same just cut the avocados in half, remove the pit and rub them with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and put the on the grill “cut-side” down. Grill until you get the desired char (only a few minutes at medium heat).
  6. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.thegarlicdiaries.com